Corruption as a monster has biblical and historical antecedents. It is believed to have been existed and perpetrated by humanity since the good old days of Adam and Eve. Many theologians hold the view that corruption has contributed tremendously to the fall of man. Empirical evidence gathered over the years shows that corruption has devastating effects on developing countries since it is one of the main obstacles to sound social and economic development. Today, corruption is conspicuously spreading like deadly cancer in our society and something needs to be done immediately about it. Ironically, everybody seems to be a perpetrator, a beneficiary or a victim of corruption in recent times, making the fight against the menace more complicated. To add more insults to injury, some unscrupulous pessimists are of the opinion that any weapon formed against corruption is a “wild goose chase” since it has reached a momentum that cannot be reversed.
As if that is also not enough, a multitude of our population is highly confused and deeply dumfounded as to what behaviours constitute corruption, making the situation looks like we are chasing an animal that we do not even know in the first place.what a hell!
So, what is corruption?
The Webster New Collegiate Dictionary defines corruption as an inducement to wrong by bribery or other unlawful improper means and as an impairment of integrity, virtue or moral principle.
According to the transparency International, corruption involves behaviour on the part of officials in the public sector, whether politicians or civil servant, in whom they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves, or those close to them by the misuse of the public power entrusted to them. Elements of corruption include bribery, fraud, theft, extortion, nepotism and maladministration.
Alatas (1990), opined that corruption has to do with the abuse of trust in the interest of private gain. It is therefore, unethical form of influence employed by people to get things they want.
What forms of corruption are available?
Bribery – Where an official accepts money or some other consideration to engage in a particular course of action or inaction.
According to Abochie (2002), bribery is aimed at achieving two main goals, namely:
1. To influence the trustee to bend the rules in favour of the giver.
2. To hasten the pace at which a legitimate official duty is performed in the interest of the giver.
Anin commission (1975), defined bribery and corruption as the giving and receiving of a gift, or attempt to extort a gift or a valuable consideration whether in cash or kind with the object of influencing a person in a position of trust to act in a way favourable to the interest of the giver.
The Anin commission was categorically clear that if the person holding the position of trust himself or herself demands a gift from possible beneficiaries in order to favour them in the exercise of his or her duties or before performing his functions, the trustee is clearly corrupt. The difference here is that the bribe is not willingly given but extorted. The giving or receiving of such gifts or valuable consideration in cash or kind is wrong whether it is given before or after the trustee has exercised his or her duties improperly in favour of the giver.
Embezzlement – Where an official misappropriates public assets for personal use.
Fraud – Where an official makes false claim for benefits for which he or she is not entitled, or in order to avoid liability for,payment, such as tax or custom duty.
Conflict of interest – Where an official stands to profit incidentally from an official act.
Extortion – Where an official demands money or some other consideration to engage in a particular course of action.
Effects of corruption
Corruption does not only erode the moral fabrics of society but also violate the social and economic right of the poor. It subverts the rule of law and retards development. The last but not least, corruption denies societies and particularly, the poor the benefits of free and open competition.
What solutions are available?
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah once said, “Corruption is not a problem peculiar to any country, I personally feel that the only way we can stop corruption in any country is to build up a strong public opinion against it.” What is your take on that?
scan0005.JPGJoin Corruption Control Network (CCN), a non- partisan and non-profit making organization established in the year, 2006 with the purpose of raising a generation of excellence in leadership, productivity and service delivery on the bedrock of integrity as a means to fighting corruption. Thanks.
By David Banaaleh (King-Dave)
President (Corruption Control Network-CCN)